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tv   Meet the Press  NBC  March 5, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST

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this sunday, connecting the dots between the trump campaign and russia. after telling the senate this -- >> i did not have communications with the russians. >> attorney general jeff sessions concedes he did meet with the russian ambassador. >> i have recused myself in the matters that deal with the trump campaign. >> the growing evidence of the trump-russia connection threatens to consume the opening months of donald trump's presidency. i will talk to republican senator marco rubio, a member of the senate intelligence committee. plus, what happens next? many democrats are calling for sessions to resign. >> the attorney general, the top cop in our country, lied under oath. >> attorney general sessions should resign. >> this morning my interview with the senate democratic
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leader, chuck schumer. did obama white house officials leave a trail to make it easier for congress to investigate russia and the election? i'll ask a man who would know, the former director of national intelligence under president obama, james clapper. and president trump's tweet claiming president obama tapped his phones. can the white house provide evidence, or is the president just trying to get people to stop talking about russia? joining me for insight and analysis, tom freyiedman from t "new york times." kim strassel. democratic polster cornell belcher and danielle pletka from the american enterprise institute. welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press." good sunday morning. it's a pretty good bet that the
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white house hoped and expected that the big story this week would be president trump's initially well received speech to the nation on tuesday night. instead, almost immediately the white house was back in a defensive crouch, forced to fight off a parade of new revelations linking the trump campaign to russia. perhaps to distract everyone from the drip, drip, president trump yesterday tweeted, without evidence, that president obama had his phones tapped. quote, how low has president obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. this is nixon water gate. bad or sick guy. >> we'll have more on that later. but the revelations this week added to a growing list of people with ties to the trump campaign whose contact with russian officials only came to light after reporters broke the story. chief among them, attorney general jeff sessions, who was forced to recuse himself from any investigation involving the campaign, and many of the episodes traced a familiar pattern. full denials followed in effect by, oh, yeah, i forgot about
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that meeting. >> i have recused myself in the matters that deal with the trump campaign. >> that statement by the attorney general on thursday came after the "washington post" revealed sessions met twice last year with russian ambassador sergey kislyak. sessions scrambled to clarify. >> in retrospect i should have slowed down and said, but i did meet one russia official a couple of times. that would be the ambassador. >> sessions met with kislyak on july 18th after speaking to a group of ambassadors at the republican convention. and he met again with the russian ambassador at his senate office on september 8th, just three days after president obama took a hard-line on russian sanctions in a g-20 meeting with vladimir putin. since the election mr. trump and his surrogates have repeatedly denied any contact between the campaign and russian officials. >> i am just telling you, it's all phony baloney garbage. >> all the contact by the trump campaign and associates was with
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the american people. >> so you're not aware of any contacts during the course of the election? >> how many times do i have to answer this question? i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with does. >> the sessions reversal is just one example of a growing list of admissions. dragged out of the trump administration after reporting on contact between trump associates and russian officials. there is now former national security adviser michael flynn who publicly denied having phone conversations with kislyak in december. after reporting detailed transcripts of the phone calls, flynn reversed himself and was forced to resign. jared kushner, the president's son-in-law, reports disclosed that he was part of a december meeting with kislyak at trump tower. then mr. trump's former campaign manager paul manafort. in july he denied that to apiece the russians the campaign fought to have the republican platform not include weapons for ukraine.
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>> i don't know who everybody is, but i guarantee you -- >> nobody from the trump campaign wanted that change in the platform? >> no one. zero. >> but former trump policy adviser j.d. gordon tells nbc news that man forth was not fortwrite with us. gordon says he was in the room and told the committee chairman that the amendment was a, quote, problem for the campaign. gordon also met with the russian ambassador at the convention. and then there is carter page, one-time trump foreign policy adviser who was also at the meeting. he has changed his story about meeting with russian officials. >> i had no meetings. no meetings. >> but on thursday, page's answer changed. >> did you meet sergey kislyak in cleveland? did you talk to him? >> i -- i am not going to deny that i talked with him. >> by the way, we contacted paul manafort last night. he told us that he has, quote, always been forth right with us and had no knowledge of the
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platform change until the sunday after the convention so he couldn't have authorized the change. joining me now senator marco rubio, republican of florida. senator rubio, welcome back to "meet the press." >> thank you. good morning. >> good morning. you travelled with the president on friday down to florida on air force one. on saturday morning, the president went on a tweet-storm, including accusing former president obama of illegally having him wire-tapped. do you have any insight, first of all, did the president talk to you about this on friday? and do you have any insight on what precipitated all this? >> we never obviously discussed that, number one. i have no insight into what exactly he is referring to, and i would imagine the president and the white house in the days to come will outline further what was behind that accusation. i have never heard that before, and i have no evidence or no one has ever presented anything to me that indicates anything like that. obviously in the days to come you'll ask him and i imagine they'll answer it and figure out what it is.
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>> as a member of the senate logisti intelligence committee, if there was a wire tap on donald trump's campaign isn't that something you would be made aware of? >> the term wire tap is thrown around loosely by many people. i don't have any basis. i have never heard the allegation made before by anybody. i have never seen anything about that anywhere before. but, again, the president put that out there. and now the white house will have to answer as to exactly what he was referring to. >> it's such a serious allegation. i mean, it is either -- if it's true, it's an extraordinary political scandal. and if it's not true, it's an extraordinary political scandal. fair? >> well, if it's true, and i just hate speculating about these things. >> this is the president of the united states that's speculating on your behalf. >> clearly, i don't think -- if that were true there is no doubt that it would be a very newsworthy item with a lot of discussion about it. if it's not true, obviously one
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would ask themselves, why did you put that out there to begin with, what was the rationale behind it? i didn't say it. i already told you i have never said that before. i wouldn't say it to you today. i had no basis to say that. if the president or the white house does, they'll lay it out over the next few days and we'll all be very interested to see what exactly it is they were talking about. >> are you concerned that the president has a credibility problem? you know, we can go back to the birther business, three to five million illegal votes. now this wire tap thing you say you are not aware of. this is the president of the united states. can we take him at his word? >> first of all, i would say the president has gotten elected and he, in many ways, is doing exactly what he told people he was going to do. a lot of the outrage out there is because donald trump is doing what he said he would do if elected. you see it reflected in the public polling. a large number of americans are saying he is doing exactly what he said he was going to do. i think that's what people are
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mostly focused on. is the president's style different than mine? absolutely. is he an unorthodox political figure, absolutely. that's what people voted for and what they wanted in this election. he is doing what they said he is going to do. >> you don't think voters want to be misled and have their president intentionally mislead them, do you? >> no one is saying that. i am saying to you that the president has a unique style of communicating that's different from the way i would do t. it. he was elected to be president of the united states. they want him to be president trump. >> let's move to the investigation. are you concerned that it seems as if people associated with the trump administration who are also associated with the campaign, they seem to deny any contacts with any russian officials during the campaign, then there is a report that comes out, then they sort of reluctantly admit, oh, yes, i forgot about that meeting or this meeting. it's turning into a pattern. we now have three, four, five different officials that that
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has happened to. are you concerned about the pattern? >> ultimately, what i would be concerned about is if -- what i am most concerned about is what the active measures undertaken by the russians to steer and undermine our elections. what was that composed of. that's what i want to focus on. there are facts that may emerge as a result of it that will be interesting to the american people and that we're going to put out in our report when the senate intelligence committee is done. we're gathering facts so that not only do we know what happened but we're prepared for the future of what this could mean. i just returned from a trip a week ago to france and germany where they have pending elections. they too are seeing this sort of active measures undertaken. the purpose of the investigation is to gather facts, put them in a report to the senate and the american people so that we know what happened and so that we can deal with it in the future. because this is going to be an ongoing thing, unfortunately, not just in elections but in public policy debates. incidental to that there may be
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facts that people look at and say this may require further attention from someone else. if that happens, that will be the job of someone else to pursue. we'll gather the facts, put them out there, wherever they lead us and we'll allow people to make judgments based on the facts. >> given that there has been reports that the white house reached out to your chairman of this intelligence committee, richard burr of north carolina, some democrats are concerned including mark warner, are concerned that the credibility of the intelligence committee's investigation is now at peril because of this. is there a point -- and i know you believe you guys can do this. you tweeted about that you guys can do this yourselves in the intel committee. is there a point that it might be better for the political process to take politics out of this, have an independent commission, special prosecutor, and put this sort of out of congress right now? >> not really. i mean, not now. i certainly don't think we're at that point this moment. the job of the intelligence committee is to gather facts and
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evidence, to go through counter-intelligence programs, intelligence programs, understand all the evidence and the facts that are out there about how the russians did this, why they did this, et cetera, and put it all in a report. that's our job, to gather facts. i believe that's what we're going to do. i told everybody i'm not going to be part of a witch hunt but i also won't be part of a coverup. i want us to put the facts out there wherever they lead us. if that's not what we do, if it in fact is not the kind of product that we produce i will be among the first people out there on this program and others telling you that i did not sign my name to that report because i believe it omitted relevant facts that the american people should know. people will be able to make judgments based on the facts. >> right after the fbi director comey briefed the intelligence committee, i believe it was about -- well, in fact it was exactly on february 17th, you tweeted the following. i am now very confident senate
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intel committee will conduct the investigation. what gave you more confidence that day to tweet that than before that day? >> first of all, because i am interacting with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the sense that i have strongly is that virtually every member if not every member of the committee is interested in arriving at facts and at the truth. that no one is in there looking at this for a political angle. everybody at the end of the day understands what our job is, understands that the credibility of the committee is on the line and we want to arrive at the truth and is prepared to go where the facts lead us irrespective of the political implications. if that changes, i will be among the first to say that the committee is no longer capable of doing its job. we are not at that point thankfully. >> you said earlier in an answer that you are not going to participate in a witch hunt.
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that is words the president has used to describe all of this. the more he does that, is that an irresponsible use of phrase right now? >> well, i don't know why -- he obviously feels very strongly that he is being accused of things that he hasn't done and that there is hysteria in the media. he has a right to express himself just as people are out there basically saying he won his election simply because of the russians. he feels that's unfair. he has every right to defend himself and that's what he is doing. my use of the term has to do with the following. i want to go for the truth is, irrespective of its political implications. where the truth is is where we're going to go. everyone else needs to be committed to that principle as well. i believe in the intelligence committee that we are. if it changes i'll be the first to say it. >> do you still believe the intelligence community's assessment that the russians interfered in this election and did so to try to benefit donald trump? >> well, i have never doubted that the -- i have never -- from back in october i have been telling people -- i was in the
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middle of my campaign and refused to talk about wikileaks because i said repeatedly it was the work of a foreign intelligence agency trying to influence our elections. the key is to understand not just what they did but how they did it. they're going to try to do it again to influence elections and also political debates in washington, d.c. we need to spend time on things that actually did happen. they're happening now in france, germany, and it will happen again in this country if we don't learn from it. >> senator marco rubio, republican of florida, thank you for coming on and sharing your views. always a pleasure, sir. >> thank you. on thursday, before attorney general jeff sessions recused himself from any investigation involving russia and the trump campaign, senate minority leader chuck schumer of new york joined a growing list of democrats calling for sessions to resign. on friday afternoon president trump responded by tweeting this 2003 photo of senate schumer with vladimir putin and called
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chuck schumer a total hypocrite. on that note, senator schumer joins me now. good morning to you, sir. to finish up this tweet back and forth. there are so many to keep up with. you responded. happily talk. read my contact with mr. putin and associates took place in '03 in full view of press and public, under oath. with you and your team, obviously that's you challenging them, under oath. this morning the president's press secretary said the following. reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling. president trump is requesting that as part of the investigation into russian activity the congressional intelligence committees exercise oversight to determine whether powers were abused in 2016. is that a fair ask of this administration? >> well, look, president obama has flatly denied that he has done this. and either way, chuck, the president's in trouble.
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if he falsely spread this kind of misinformation, that is so wrong it's -- it's beneath the dignity of the presidency, it is something that really hurts people's view of government. it's civilization warping as ben sassa called it. nan of any president in the past has done this. if it's true, it's even worse for the president. because that means that a federal judge, independently elected, has found probable cause that the president, or people on his staff, have had probable cause to have broken the law or to have interacted with a foreign agent. now, that's serious stuff. either way. the president makes it worse with these tweets. is he trying to divert things here? yeah. the president denied this. i don't have any doubt to -- i don't have any doubt that
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president obama has been telling the truth. if they want to investigate it, sure, but the real point is, we need a special prosecutor to investigate what went on in the trump campaign transition in presidency. >> let me ask you -- let me start with that, actually. >> please. >> do you no longer have confidence in the intelligence committee to do this on the senate side? to conduct this investigation? >> let me answer that in two parts. first, the intelligence committee is a congressional oversight. yes, i have some doubts about chairman burr. he first denied that they should even investigate. when he was pushed by mark warner he said, okay, we'll investigate. then, of course, at the administration's request, he went to the press and said something was wrong. that's taking sides in an investigation. the faith i have in the intelligence committee is in mark warner and the democrats. they have been holding burr's feet to the fire, and they have said they will look for another alternative if chairman burr does not fully pursue this.
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there is another point to this, and people mix up the two. the other, of course, is whether the law was broken and whether the trump campaign was complicit in working with the russians to influence the election. that needs a special prosecutor. rod rosenstein, he is a career man. he will be before the judiciary committee for his nomination for deputy attorney general. i am urging him at that hearing to say he will appoint a special prosecutor to look into this. it's on the executive side that the full investigation is done, and any criminality is put forward. >> let me ask you about this specific charge, what you were just talking about with president trump, the idea that there may have been a court order surveillance of some form or another. your part of what's called -- so many gangs on senate side -- you are one of the gang of eight. >> yes. >> on intelligence matters, the most sensitive intelligence matters. you are briefed on this.
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is it fair -- wouldn't you have been briefed if the fbi had gone to a court to get surveillance of a foreign government involving the trump campaign? wouldn't you know this? >> i don't comment on classified briefings. >> it's fair to say that if -- why not, if you know this information, why not share it at this point? >> as i said. >> we have a problem of trust. it goes to what you just quoted of ben sasse. >> the rules are such that you cannot comment on classified briefings and i won't violate the rules. >> okay. >> sorry. >> we are to sit here and to wonder and ponder? >> well, no. if we have a special prosecutor, they will get to the bottom of all of this. and that's what we need. a special prosecutor is much better than letting a lying department person do it for three reasons. this is in doj guidelines. first, a special prosecutor has much more freedom day to day, who to subpoena, what documents to look at, the path of the
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investigation. second, a special prosecutor can only be fired for cause. so if they're hitting some real stuff, they can't just be gotten rid of the way, say, sally yates was gotten rid of by the trump administration when she didn't do what she wanted. third, they have to report to congress. so we really need a special prosecutor. i am hoping that rosenstein will agree to that and admit -- make that -- say he'll make that happen at the committee meeting. i know our committee members will be asking him about it. >> let me ask you this. congress adam schiff, the democrat -- to have-ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee, implied that the fbi has not been fo forthcoming in the various briefings. is he correct? do you believe it's not been forthcoming on what's it's been doing on the campaign? >> the fbi is the premier investigative agency here in our government. and i believe that they will do
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their job and get to the bottom of this without political interference. >> right, but do you believe they have been withholding information from congress? >> well, there are certain kinds of information that can't be given to congress that, you know, or all of congress, that's classified or that can't be released. and there is a prosecutorial sort of way of doing things that you don't comment on ongoing investigations. >> so in this case, you wouldn't level the same criticism that congressman schiff has levelled? >> i am saying they'll get to the bottom of this. i hope they will. if they don't it will be a real der lic dereliction of their duty. >> so you have full confidence in the fbi. >> i gave you my answer. >> thank you for coming on. did the obama white house really leave a trail of bread crumbs about the trump-russia connection for government investigators to find a bit easier? i will ask the former director
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of national intelligence, james clapper. key
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welcome back. panelists here. cornell belcher author of the book "a black man in the white house." kim strosel, member of the wall street journal editorial board
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and danielle pletka and tom friedman, columnist for "the new york times". >> i don't know where to begin here, but tom friedman, it was jarring, president trump accusing president obama, and obviously, i guess it was an attempt to distract, but i don't know how this distracts from the russia story. >> it was beyond jarring, really, when you think about it, chuck. this is such a serious charge. under normal circumstances it would be a six-column headline in my paper and i think any other paper and a serious person before he made such a charge would have brought together the congressional leaders and briefed them on it, and brought together the intelligence commuty and the fact that he lobbed this on twitter at 6:00 in the morning is shocking. i think we have to keep one thing in mind, the big picture. the big picture, chuck, is russia is not our friend. v lead mir putin is not our friend. he has very specific goals. he wants to fracture nato. he wants to fracture the
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european ne european union so it won't be a threat and he wants to destroy the ability of the united states to lead a western alliance. right now in moscow they must be clinking vodka glasses because for less than the cost of a mid 29 they have thrown the west into complete disarray. >> it doesn't matter what you think of their intentions was, look at our country right now. >> what the russian intentions are and what happened during the election are two very different things. it's not just the russians who want to interfere in our election. lots of countries want to interfere in our elections, lots have tried. remember the chinese and al gore? the point was there someone inside the trump campaign that was working with them and did the president know about that and were they successful? and i think on those latter two questions we have no idea. >> no evidence. there's no evidence. i just heard chuck schumer suggest exactly what he did.
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we know that this is the case. there's nothing there. especially this recent discussion about jeff session which is is the kind of height of the ludicrousness of this, okay? if jeff sessions really was a mole working for the russian government he probably would have found a better place to have met with them than his public senate office surrounded by his aides so the meetings are not necessarily what matter. they don't prove anything. >> the one thing i will say this on these meetings -- >> is there any substance? >> they do have this pattern of oh, yeah, i forgot i had this meeting. >> as many in washington have suddenly forgot, mr. schumer, for instance about meeting with russian ambassador. >> but there is a difference? >> i don't know. >> you don't think there is a difference between those two? >> no. if you headed to a meeting and a bunch of ambassadors head to you, you wouldn't remember that? >> that i understand. after the mike flinn situation
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do you not try to correct the record? >> that's why we need a special prosecutor and independent commission and we need to see trump's taxes. >> there is an awful lot of smoke not to be a fire and you've had three people resign. the idea that i'll forget about a meeting with russians when there are news stories every day coming out about how russia has tried to influence what's happening in our country is kind of breathtaking, and i've got to side with marco rubio on this. look, he talked about he wasn't going to talk about it because he understood that russians are trying to influence our election and will continue to try to do something about it. this is a threat to our country, right? and the idea that russia is different from other countries, russia is very different from other countries because we have a history of the cold war with russia that apparently we thought was over because we have a short history lesson and view of the world and putin paused and clearly, they are clearly trying to influence and dominate the world than we've seen in a long time. >> i would be sympathetic to your argument if over the last
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eight years i would have heard it from people in your position. for the last eight years when the russians have been exactly the same, putin has been an athama, he has been screwing us in the middle east, to put it bluntly. >> everything is blunt talk now. >> thank you very much, donald. but honestly speaking, the part of this this is this is partisanship. if we could have a normal discussion about russia with obama and trump? >> take partisanship away from it and put it to a special prosecutor then and take politics out of it. >> a special prosecutor doesn't fix it either. the problem we have at the moment is if you did what trump said and he put it all out there, there would still behalf of the country that didn't believe it was true and we have no faith in the public institutions. >> how do we restore the faith and how does congress do it? >> special prosecutor is not a good idea. their goal is to get someone in the end and they will follow any rabbit hole that they can go
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until they're not investigating the thing that they began with. >> you do believe congress and the commission? >> think maybe we are at a point where you need a rob silverman type commission that we had in iraq intelligence that is bipartisan. i don't know what kind of powers would have, congress would have to decide that, but i neutral ash trarer because we need to know if there was wiretapping going on. >> just for the record, some of us took russia very seriously. >> not in the white house. >> i'm not talking about the white house. >> some of us in the press. my point and what worries me is this, government moves at the speed of trust, and right now there is so little trust. we have a completely polarized environment and somehow we have got to restore that because i don't see how the president will be able to solve any of these big issues, immigration, debt, health care at the level of polarization that we have right now. >> think we've exemplified it here a little bit. >> we'll pause the conversation and pick it up, i have a feeling
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on the other side of the half hour, but coming up is a man who may know more than anyone about russia's efforts to interfere with the 201 ♪ (vo) do not go gentle into that good night, old age should burn and rave at close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light.
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do not go gentle into that good night. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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various: (shouting) heigh! ho! ( ♪ ) it's off to work we go! woman: on the gulf coast, new exxonmobil projects are expected to create over 45,000 jobs. and each job created by the energy industry supports two others in the community. altogether, the industry supports over 9 million jobs nationwide. these are jobs that natural gas is helping make happen, all while reducing america's emissions. energy lives here. welcome back. earlier this week "the new york times" reported that in the dying days of the obama presidency white house officials took steps to spread information about rush's's attempt to undermine the presidential
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election. why? one of the things was to make it easier for government investigators, in particular congress, to uncover that truth. james clapper, a career intelligence officer was the director of national intelligence for more than six years under president obama. he spearheaded the report that was released in january that concluded that the russians lacked the democratic committee emails and interfered with the 2016 election and mr. clapper joins me now. welcome, sir, to "meet the press". >> thanks, chuck, for having me. >> let me start with the president's tweets that president obama ordered an illegal wiretap of his offices and if something like that happened would this be something that you would be aware of? >> i would certainly hope so. obviously, i can't speak officially anymore, but i will say that for the part of the national security apparatus that i oversaw as dni, was there no wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time or as a candidate or against his
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campaign. i can't speak for other title 3-authorized entities in the government or a state or local -- >> i was just going to say, if the fbi had a fisa court order for surveillance, would that be information that you would know or not know? >> yes. >> you would be told this. >> i would know this. >> if there was a fisa court order. >> something like this absolutely. >> at this point you can't confirm or deny whether that exists. >> i can deny it. >> there is no fisa court order. >> not to my knowledge. >> of anything at trump tower. >> no. >> that's an important revelation at this point. >> let me ask you this, does intelligence exist that can definitively answer the following question, whether there were improper contacts between the russia campaign or intel jens officials. >> we did not include evidence in our report and that's nsa, fbi and cia with my office, the director of national intelligence that had anything -- that had any
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reflection of collusion between members of the trump campaign or the office, was there no evidence of that in our report. >> i understand that, but does it exist? >> not to my knowledge. >> if it existed it would have been in the report? >> this could have unfolded or become available in the time since i left the government. >> at the time, we had no evidence of collusion. >> there's a lot of smoke, but there hasn't been that smoking gun yet. at what point should the public start to wonder this is all just smoke? >> well, that's a good question. i don't know. >> i do think, though, it is in everyone's interest. in the current president's interest, in the republicans' interest ask the country's interest to get to the bottom of all of this because it's such a distraction and certainly the russians have to be churdelling about the success of their
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efforts to dissension in this country. >> so you feel your report does not -- you admit that your report doesn't get to the bottom of this? >> it got to the bottom of the evidence to the extent of the evidence we had at the time. whether there's more evidence that's become available since then or there are ongoing investigations will be revelatory. i don't know. >> it's clear that the russians did so and in an attempt to help donald trump? do you believe that? >> yes, i do. >> what's not proven is the idea of collusion? >> that's correct. >> when you see this parade of officials associated with the trump campaign and first they deny any conversations and now we're hearing more. does that add to suspicion or do you think some of this is circumstantial? >> well, i can't say what the nature of those conversations and dialogues were, for the most part.
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again, i think it would be very health toe completely clear the air on this subject, and i think it would be in everyone's interest to have that done. >> can the senate intelligence committee -- what are we going to learn from their investigation, do you think, that will move beyond what you were able to do? >> well, i think they can look at this from a broader context than we could, and at this point i do have confidence in the senate intelligence committee and their effort. it is under way in contrast to the house intelligence committee and we just last week agreed on their charter and importantly in the case of the senate intelligence committee this appears to me to be truly a bipartisan effort, and so i think that needs to play out. if, for some reason, that proves not to be satisfactory in the minds of those who make those decisions then move on to a special prosecutor. >> the new york times earlier this week, and as i was introducing you, this idea that
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they sort of left a trail, maybe lowered classification -- can you walk us through how that would work? did they lower levels of classification? was that a fair read of what was done in the last few weeks of the administration? >> actually not because of the sensitivity of much of the information in this report our actual effort was to protect it, and not to spread it around and certainly not to dumb it down, if i can use that phrase, in order to disseminate it more widely. we were under a preservation order from both our oversight committees to preserve and protect all of the information related to that report in any event. >> let me ask you one other final question in the infamous dossier that was put together by this former british operative named christopher steel. why did you feel the need to brief the president on that at the time? >> we felt that it was important that he know about it, that it was out there, and without
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respect to the veracity of the contents of the dossier, that's why it was not included as a part of our report because much of it could not be corroborated, and importantly, some of the sources that mr. steel drew on, second and third order assets, we could not validate or corroborate. so for that reason, at least in my view, the important thing was to warn the president that this thing was out there. the russians have a term, an acronym called kompelat that either they will generate, if it's truthful or contrived, and it's important, we felt, that he knew of the existence of the dossier. >> have you done this with other presidents? have you had to brief them about unverified intelligence? >> yes. i had occasion in the six and a half years i was dn ito tell
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president obama certain things and we could not validate or corroborate, but we thought he ought to know it was out there. >> james clapper, i have a feel ago on do you expect to testify on capitol hill about these things? >> i don't think there's any doubt. we'll see you on tv some time soon and thank you for coming on and sharing your views? >> thank you very much, sir. when we've come back, we've seen almost weekly demonstrations against president trump, will they transfer into democratic votes or will they turn to the left? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ sfx: engine revving ♪ (silence) ♪
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♪ ♪ welcome back. data download time. can all of the anti-trump momentum that we're seeing on the left result in actual election victories for democrats this year? well, there are three special elections coming up. two of which may help us answer that question. the montana at-large congressional district vacated by the new secretary ryan inky and the georgia 6th congressional district that includes the northern suburbs of atlanta with tom price. let's take a look at montana, a state that's very rural, in other words, this should be trump country. those are all groups that they did well in november. this is a seat republicans have held since 1997.
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thing is montana isn't like other places and while they hold the senate seats, the democrats do hold the other senate seats and the governor was elected with donald trump on the ballot. can that gov them hope for other rural places? if the republicans win maybe that the trump army is still with them. it's more diverse, higher educated and well-to-do, and it's been trending more and more blue over time. john mccain and mitt romney each won the district by double digits over barack obama in 2008 and 2012. donald trump only beat hillary clinton by 1% in 2016 even though price won his reelection by 23 points. so it is the kind of place that it might be showing signs that it is slipping away from trump's version of the republican party. so if the democrats win there it will say something, but if they can't win there, then it starts to raise questions about whether they have any hope at all in 2018. but guess what? if they win one or both they
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will suggest they have real momentum going into next year's midterms and i can tell you this, house ep republicans will start panicking this year if they so we can't stay here!
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back now with the panel and we have been going over the jim clapper interview just now, and here's the specific transcript that everybody here on the fisa court order. i asked him at this point can you confirm or deny if this fisa court order exists. he says i can deny it. there is no fisa court order, clapper, not to my knowledge of anything at trump tower. no. how big of a deal? >> i think him denying that
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there was a fisa order is a big deal, but why are we talking about this? we're talking about this because trump tweeted it out in pretty much the same breath that he tweeted about arnold schwarzenegger. >> which by the -- >> say no more. >> don't let us get distracted by that, as well. >> yes. >> would we be talking about this at all if he hadn't been tweeted that at all? >> about the russia angle. >> would we be talking about sessions? >> he made two pieces of news, not just he said that there was no court order and assuming he just wasn't being careful with his words it sounded fairly categorical to me, and the other was that there was no evidence of collusion when he was there between the trump campaign and the russians so what have we been talking about for the last three weeks? >> this is waking up at 6:00 a.m. in the morning tweeting out one of the most damning accusations that a president can make one after the other and
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then talking about arnold schwarzenegger. >> and he did 18 holes. >> non-presidential behavior. that is not adult behavior and that is juvenile behavior and the fact that we have a president that engages in that is deeply disturbing. he'll have to go to europe very soon and interact with other european leaders, other world leaders, what would you think if you're a world leader going into a meeting. what do i say to this guy? what might he say about this meeting? he is everywhere we look and we talked about this before, i quoted my friend who makes the point, there say big difference between formal authority and moral authority. he has formal authority and every day you see him eroding his moral authority. >> it's like ringling brothers, and he bait and switch? is he diabolical in the way that he plays us? it's hard to think sort of that this was not thought out.
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so is he trying to play the american public and the media like a fiddle? >> we now have some reporting. tuesday night went well for him and wednesday seemed to be going pretty well. >> right. >> he apparently is angry that sessions recused himself. now this is the part of donald trump that, like, never give an inch. >> what i don't get is how he can't look at the reaction to that speech and understand how much it helps him to stay on script and -- >> and not tweet about arnold schwarzenegger. >> put down the twitter account, because look, there were polls after that speech. 82% of those who watched it felt he looked presidential and the words that were in it, i think it was sort of uplifting and it was a very good speech for him in laying out his policy agenda and putting some of the own us or burden on democrats to work with limb and get some of his agenda dan and now we're talking about twitter. >> no-message discipline. >> it's got to drive the people in the white house crazy because you're right. coming out of that.
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>> it does. more presidents would roll this into momentum. >> travel the country. ? you talked about georgia, you can't beat something with nothing, and unless the democrats have candidates, i believe, that are for pro-growth, that are patriotic and want to build the country one community at a time. >> can i bring up something? john writes something, he says this just in general about the democratic party, because democrats and liberals have opposed every appointment and every policy and every word emanating from the trump administration, they've damaged their political force against it and they're limiting their ability to bring the soft trump voters that are disillusioned by him to their side. >> they're doing damage by constantly calling on everybody to resign. they go to def con 5. >> it was ridiculous then. >> it's ridiculous on the part of all of them. congress needs to be taken
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seriously. congress needs to start passing bills. congress doesn't actually need to play this game and this is where i don't get chuck shumer and nancy pelosi. don't vote against every nominee. don't go against every the president says. why not try to work with the american people to pass an agenda and get reelected? >> here's where i'll put my political hack hat on, not the serious one, the straight, political hat. >> y you can make the same argument about the tea party and they're crazy like foxes. you have to generate energy among what's fund-raising and also this. the problem in the midterm elections isn't that we have the presidential election voters changing their mind. the problem with midterm elections is they're different electorates and you have a 16 and 18-point difference for democrats and republicans in midterm elections. if democrats can shrink of some of that by energizing their base it's a good thing. >> i have to pause it here. i have to pause it here because i have to sneak in this break and i'll let you respond.
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i promise. >> president trump calls an end to trivial fights right before starting a trivial fight. >> coming up, "meet the - as parents, we worry about our kids being on devices too much, but it turns out they're just as worried about us. 28% of teens feel their parents are addicted to their mobile devices. now that's a direct message.
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"meet the press" endgame is brought to you by boeing, always working to build something better. >> back now with "endgame" i teased it. let's hear from the president on tuesday night. it was something that's been quoted a lot in the last 24 hours. >> the time for small thinking is over. the time for trivial fights is behind us. >> and then, of course, after president trump accused president obama of wiretapping him he did throw in the arnold schwarzenegger bite, arnold schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving "the apprentice" he was fired by his pathetic ratings and not by me. the only thing missing from the tweet was #sad from failing "celebrity apprentice." you brought it up. you shake your head at it. >> you shake your head at it. the president doesn't have a message discipline. ink that's what cornell said. we were talking about the democrats before. when you talk about wanting to
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win again in the midterms they need to do something that will appeal to those people who voted for donald trump. talking about russia, calling on people to resign isn't going to appeal to them. anger, i think, you'll agree with this. anger doesn't actually win lech elections. >> doesn't it work in midterms. >> cornell put his political hack hat. is that the only reason democ t democrats are in washington to win and have power? >> no, no, no. look, they have -- they have promised their voters some things that they would like to get done, and by the way, who better to work with donald trump who loves to make a deal? this guy is the least ideological presidents that has ever been in the white house. >> a few more mornings of this with 6:00 a.m. tweets and they're not going to talk about taking away his flip ball and i mean the nuclear codes. >> my job is to make sure that president obama is a one-term president. they're kind of here for the
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power. that's not a good thing, but both sides play this and don't -- >> i'm not suggesting otherwise. i'm just saying if you really did care about some policy goals. >> right. >> you've got an opportunity in donald trump. >> do we have power in anything? >> and i have to turn off the cameras, but you guys can keep debating. i promise you. that's all we have for today. a three-hour show packed into one hour. we're back next week, i promise. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." you can see more endgame in post game on the mtp facebook page.
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♪ "press:here is sponsored in part by barracuda network, cloud connected. >> this week silicon valley companies in a toxic bubble of flawed culture. what the next big startup needs to do to avoid becoming the next uber. general motors makes a big change to its car on-demand service and a pot entrepreneur ponders the future. our reporters, laura kalodno and sarah lalsy this week on "press:here. >> good morning, everyone. i'm scott mcgrew. i would like the say i am appall by the revelations in the last few weeksbo
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